Fasting and Feasting

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Fasting and Feasting

The book “Fasting and Feasting” revolves around two families, one that lives in India the other in America. The author Anita Desai contrasts the two families. The book focuses on the social role of the woman in the household and the Indian traditions that keep them there. The main character of the book is an Indian woman that is not pretty, smart, or confident. The story follows her throughout her life and chronicles the struggles she has, her failures and lost opportunities. One of the more disturbing aspects of the book is the fact that woman were meant only for marriage, and this is taken advantage of by many people throughout the story. The author shows the reader a glimpse into the arranged marriages of the middle class in India through the eyes of Uma. She is married off twice and is twice scammed into giving up her families’ dowry. They lost the dowry both times and never get the money back.

“ Women were bred for marriage” (pg) Uma states this towards the end of the of her story. It sums up a how the culture sees her and what a woman’s job in life is. Uma’s life was constantly planned by Papa. Papa limited her freedom and confined her to the house. Uma’s days were spent looking after baby Arun and making sure that the household was running well. Papa imprisoned Uma at home. When Uma wanted to go for outings or for tea at the neighbour’s house, Papa would stop her from doing so saying it was a waste of time. Uma could not resist her father’s oppressive patriarchal ideology, becaues she was afraid of the consequences that would befall her if she angered her father. Uma had two paths to follow in her life, she could either get married or stay with the family and become close to a slave for her parents.

Uma’s family does try to marry her off. They go to great lengths to find a man that would take her. They send pictures to all the relatives and Uma’s mother talks to all her friends about finding her a...
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